I have just posted a picture of a skua in the ID Discussion Gallery (http://www.surfbirds.com/cgi-bin/gal...lery=gallery28). This was taken off the Kerala coast in India in February 2008. Skuas aren't reported very often in India although a bewildering array of immature and non-breeding plumages are probably present throughout the winter.

I have a gallery of skua photos from this trip online at http://www.bubo.org/skuas with pictures of the bird in question at:

On the boat journey from Kochi to Lakshadweep I saw nearly 100 skuas and all that I could identify (more than 50%) were Pomarine. I suspected that the others were mostly Pomarine as well. However the picture posted shows an extremely pale and small-looking immature. Long-tailed has not been recorded in the Indian subcontinent and, although at first glance this bird might suggest Long-tailed, I feel it is probably more likely an Arctic. I suspect that bleaching is the cause of the extreme whiteness.

Would appreciate some input from anyone who knows wintering and immature skuas well (if there is such a thing!)

-- Mike --

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